Nuts and cranberries fill these simple baked apples that cook in your slow-cooker. Top them with Sea Salt Caramel Sauce and, if you like, a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

4 baking apples, such as Pink Lady 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 inches in diameter

1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup apple cider or apple juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 inches stick cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter, cut into four pieces

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon light-color corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream (optional)

Directions:

 

Core apples; peel a strip from the top of each apple. Place apples, top sides up, in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker.

In a small bowl, combine cranberries, walnuts and brown sugar.

Spoon mixture into centers of apples, patting in with a knife or narrow metal spatula.

Combine apple cider, lemon zest and lemon juice and pour around apples in cooker. Add stick cinnamon to liquid. Top each apple with a piece of butter.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 hours.

For sauce: In a heavy small saucepan, bring the 1/3 cup brown sugar, whipping cream, butter and corn syrup to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally; reduce heat to medium.

Boil gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla and sea salt. Cool to room temperature before serving, or chill for up to 24 hours and re-warm in the microwave on 50 percent power (medium) for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes before serving, stirring twice.

To serve, transfer warm apples to dessert dishes. Spoon some of the cooking liquid from cooker over apples.

Serve with Sea Salt-Caramel Sauce and, if you like, ice cream.